Carla Valenzuela (M18)


  • Biological Sciences
  • Goldwater Scholar

Meyerhoff Scholar Carla Valenzuela was a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA when she was one of 321 students to receive a 2008 Goldwater Scholarship, considered the most prestigious U.S. award for undergraduates in mathematics, science and engineering.

The Goldwater Scholarship program honors outstanding students committed to pursuing careers as research scientists. The Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,035 students.

Valenzuela, a biological sciences major, hopes to obtain a M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience and conduct research on the potential of stem cells to serve as therapeutic tools for neurodegenerative disorders. She became interested in the field as a sophomore in high school, when she had the opportunity to work in a neuroscience laboratory.

Valenzuela traveled to Tokyo, Japan for a research internship at the Nutrition Metabolism, Metabolic Disorders Department at the Tsukuba Research Institute, Banyu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. She conducts research in the laboratory of Margaret M. McCarthy at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she studies the effect of estradiol on glial cell genesis and function in the development of the hippocampus.

Valenzuela also is a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars.

“I feel so honored to have received the Goldwater Scholarship,” said Valenzuela. “It really motivates me to continue working hard towards getting my M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience and someday becoming a leader in my field.”